Tennessee State University is using $3.6 million of its allocation from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to address student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations during the pandemic.

NASHVILLE — Tennessee State University will use $7.2 million in federal aid to help students and support institutional needs as a result of COVID-19.

The funds are being provided to TSU as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The university has received $3.6 million, the first half of the allocation, which is specifically for student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. The university has distributed the funds as emergency financial aid grants to students. The remaining amount will be released later and is reserved for institutional use to cover costs associated with significant changes due to the coronavirus.

Human Performance and Sports Science major Maddison Metcalf says she will use the money to enroll in summer school. Metcalf received her emergency funds on Monday.“This was unexpected, but very much needed,” says Metcalf, a rising TSU senior. “I had an old laptop and the online class load added more wear and tear to the device. I used the money saved for summer school to help me get another one.”

Fellow rising TSU senior Matthew Benton is putting his money away for the upcoming semester. “The funds went directly into my savings to help me pay for the fall semester,” says Benton. The business major from Atlanta adds that he wants to make sure all expenses are covered for his final year at TSU.

 “The university is attempting to assist as many students as possible that have been impacted by Covid-19,” says Horace Chase, TSU’s vice president of business and finance.

“Qualifying undergraduate students, graduate students, PELL eligible students, and those experiencing hardships as a result of the pandemic will receive financial support.”

The funds will help students cover “those unplanned expenses,” adds Chase, that have occurred as a result of the pandemic.

Graduate students will receive a one-time grant of $500. Undergraduate students who are not PELL Grant eligible will receive $600, and undergraduate students who are PELL eligible will receive $800.

This funding is separate from refunds or financial aid students have received from the university. Last month, TSU students received housing and meal refunds.

“Each student has her or his own unique challenges as a result of Covid-19,” says Chase. “These funds are flexible and allows them to be used in a way that best suits the students’ individual needs.”

Terrence Izzard, associate vice president of admissions and recruitment at TSU, says “finances play a major role in a student’s ability to enroll, persist, and graduate from college.”

“TSU is committed to doing all we can to help students remain in school,” says Izzard. “Funding from the CARES Act is certainly helping us keep talented students enrolled.”

The university will use the second half of the allocation to enhance online learning and other expenses associated with new campus operation measures implemented because of COVID-19. Summer sessions are 100 percent online. They started May 4 and run through August 6.

(For more on campus operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.)